Centurion Arms is a Navy SEAL-owned and operated company that produces and sells the very finest, operations-grade marksman rifles on the market anywhere. Discerning firearms enthusiasts who demand the very best should take a look at their signature designated marksman rifle MK12 and other offerings here. As brave and generous sponsors of this website, they are offering a 15% discount on all purchases using the Revolver code. Revolver’s Darren Beattie had the opportunity to interview retired Navy SEAL Monty LeClair, owner and operator of Centurion, to get his thoughts on the current state of the military, veterans issues, and of course, to tell us a bit about Centurion’s MK12 rifle, which has become so coveted among the elite of the elite of firearms enthusiasts.
Revolver: Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview and above all for your service to this country. First off, what made you want to become a SEAL in the first place? What was the most surprising aspect of your job as compared to what you expected going in? What was the most interesting? And the most difficult?
Monty: Darren glad to do the interview and thank you for having me!! I guess as a kid I was always interested in the military and wanted to do some sort of special operations, but on my 16th birthday, my dad got me a book called “Element of Surprise” by Darryl Young, and after I read the first chapter about BUD/s, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I’d have to say that since I was a medic, the most surprising aspect to me was how in-depth the medical training we received was. It went well beyond first aid. The most interesting part really just had to be the sheer variety of missions we did over the years. It didn’t seem like we said no to much, and we would just figure out how to train for anything we would be tasked with. The most difficult aspect of my career would have to be the years spent away from family.
Revolver: My understanding is you’ve always had a passion for firearms, and were even building your own firearms in your teens. Even as you were active duty you were involved in making firearms products for use within the SEAL Teams. How did your passion for firearms develop?
Monty: A-My dad was a big history buff and loved many of the old firearms from WWI and WWII. The firearms part of it rubbed off on me and it got me interested in how they worked and building them. As far as developing stuff for the SEAL Teams, I worked at WARCOM for a while dealing with weapons requirements, operational test and evaluation, and it was very interesting to see all of the new technologies and work on them.
Revolver: You spent 25 years as a Navy SEAL. What are some of the biggest challenges veterans face today? What more could be done at the private sector and public sector level to help vets?
Monty: Well first I’d have to say I was very lucky as a veteran, as I already had a business, and a plan for when I got out. I had more of an attitude of “what can’t I do now” instead of a “what am I going to do now.” I’d have to say though, it seems like a lot of veterans are having a hard time, especially with the way the country is moving politically. They feel everything they believed in and fought for is being lost, and destroyed intentionally. Vets need to get more active and we are seeing some of it with so many running for political office, and the community needs to support them.
Revolver: Now let’s dig into some of your incredible products. One of your flagship offerings is the legendary MK12 complete rifle. Tell us a little bit about the history of this firearm. What do you love most about it? Please tell us more about some of the special features of the M12 offered by Centurion.
Monty: Well, I fell in love with the MK12 when I first got issued one for deployment to Iraq. It was just such an easy weapon to shoot and such an accurate rifle, you just felt like you couldn’t miss with it. It felt like cheating!
The MK12 serves in a designated marksman role, offering overwatch for infantry squads or engaging enemy targets at ranges where standard assault rifles are ineffective. Besides the Navy SEALs, it has seen usage among Army Special Forces, Marine Corps snipers, and other special operation units and has been deployed in various conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
The MK12 was developed to fill the gap between the standard issue M4 carbine and a sniper rifle, offering greater accuracy and effective range than the M4 but without the bulk and weight of a full-fledged sniper rifle. It’s built on the AR-15 platform, making it similar in form and function to rifles like the M16 and M4. It uses 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. One of the most distinctive features is its longer, free-floated barrel, usually around 18 inches, which improves accuracy.
The RECCE Rifle, the other rifle we offer at Centurion Arms, has a slightly shorter barrel length at 16 inches, but is otherwise very similar to the MK12.
Our MK12s are equipped with a suppressor and sometimes with a muzzle brake to reduce recoil. Picatinny rails allow for the attachment of various accessories such as bipods, laser designators, and additional optics. And finally, we fit our rifles with a match-grade trigger to provide a more consistent and crisp trigger pull, which improves shot accuracy.
At Centurion Arms, we aim to outperform “military grade,” which is often an inside joke in veteran circles as everything issued in the military just went to the lowest bidder. Our first, and most popular model is the MK12 Mod 1. This rifle has a premium barrel, A2 stock, Ergo grip, KAC RAS when available, and our own OPS Inc brake and collar for use with the AEM5 suppressor. We offer lighter weight handguards, collapsible stocks, and many other accessories for our weapons. We are a one-stop-shop for the MK12 and RECCE shooters out there.
Revolver: Finally, you’ve stated that the book that made you want to become a SEAL is “Element of Surprise” by Darryl Young. What was it about this book that resonated so much with you? What would you say to a teenage boy today who was interested in serving in the SEALs?
Monty: A-Well, just reading about BUD/s, with all of the struggles and challenges it offered, made me want to go do it. The rest of it sounded great to me too, going out every night crawling through the mud with machine guns, rolling up “bad guys” and kidnapping them. Isn’t that what every kid wants to do when they grow up? I think it’s hard to know what to say to a kid who wants to do it because the military has changed so much since I joined. In many ways, the military no longer exemplifies peak masculine culture like it did when I enlisted. It’s now more important to be politically correct than combat effective. We also saw how the Covid vaccine mandates exposed how little the federal government actually cares about its servicemembers. While there are some concrete benefits to joining the military (e.g., GI Bill, VA Loan, etc.), the military has lost a lot of its attractiveness to a lot of us.